The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras Skillfully Woven Together

HoffmanLRH.JPG
Hoffman gets his LRH on.
On Thursday, Marc Headley settled things once and for all. In a story he wrote for The Daily Beast, he showed conclusively that Paul Thomas Anderson's script for The Master is about almost nothing but Scientology, providing 22 direct comparisons as proof.

Marc did a great job showing some of the parallels between the script and Scientology history. For example: From 1967 to 1975 Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard ran things from a former cattle trawler he refurbished as a yacht and renamed the Apollo; in the script, Lancaster Dodd ("The Master" character, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film) runs things from a refurbished cattle trawler dubbed the Alatheia.

Now that I've read the script myself, I can say that the parallells go even deeper than Headley indicated, and in this piece I'm going to talk about how not only the names and dates and places in the script echo L. Ron Hubbard's life, but also how the narrative of The Master explores multiple eras of Scientology's history to paint a compelling portrait of Hubbard and his enterprise (but I'll do my best not to spoil the film itself).

First, I want to address the notion, often expressed at other sites, that the finished film Anderson is going to release in October SEPTEMBER! is likely to be substantially different than the script (or multiple versions of the script) which have been floating around for years.

We got leaked a copy of the script on Friday. We have no way of knowing whether it is an early or late version. We can see from the official trailer released last week, however, that much of what's filmed has been preserved almost verbatim from the script we have. Take a look yourself. Here are some sample moments of dialogue...

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Master2.JPG
Master4.JPG


And here's the trailer, where you will see many of those lines preserved...



Also, having read the script, I can tell you that virtually every shot I see in that trailer comes right from the pages I've read.

So, with that out of the way, what's the script about?

I'll avoid the plot points of the film so as to prevent spoilers, but I can tell you which eras of Scientology form its backdrop.

1. Hubbard goes whole track. When L. Ron Hubbard introduced the idea of "auditing" (a form of counseling) with his 1950 book Dianetics, it experienced a brief fad as people around the country paired up to help each other remember what they had experienced as embryos or during childbirth. It was Hubbard's contention that something your mother and father said during sex, or during pregnancy, could somehow imprint itself on your mind and mess you up for life. If you could go back in time and recover those memories, you could disarm them and improve your mental faculties in the present. Riding the popularity of that notion, for a couple of years Hubbard built larger and larger groups in places like New Jersey and California to meet the demand for his classes. But Hubbard wasn't satisfied with this, and kept pushing further: if his "technology" could help a person recover memories in the womb, why not go back even further? Hubbard proposed that we are immortal beings and could, with his help, recover memories from countless past lives, going back millions of years. As journalist Russell Miller explains so well in his excellent 1987 biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, not everyone who had originally supported Dianetics was thrilled with the new emphasis on past lives and space opera. Hubbard was faced with the first of several splits in his movement. (Sample line from Dodd in the script: "We must Process The Whole of time. This Life and Pre Natal Cellular processing is not enough. We have Lived Many, Many, Many Lives. So anybody that is not processing the whole of time -- is doing a disservice to man and Will Not Get Better. I cannot put it more simply.")

2. A wealthy patron sours on LRH. Part of that early crisis for Hubbard was his involvement with Wichita millionaire Don Purcell. As Miller explains, Purcell was a godsend for Hubbard, who, in 1951, was reeling from his divorce from his second wife, Sara Northrup, and the battle over custody of their daughter, Alexis. The early fad over Dianetics had faded, his early foundations were failing, Hubbard was hiding out in Cuba, and the press was savaging him when Purcell offered a safe haven for Hubbard in Kansas. The science fiction writer went there and put his movement in Purcell's hands. Before too long, however, that relationship had also soured, and Hubbard had to start over again, this time renaming his invention "Scientology" while he lived in Phoenix. (In the script, Dodd's benefactor, a Park Avenue widower named Mildred Purcell, hosts a fundraiser and demonstration of Dodd's latest ideas, only to have it ruined by a persistent skeptic, and Dodd reacts in a way that shocks Mrs. Purcell.)

3. The Sea Org and wedding bells. By 1966, while based in England, Hubbard was becoming so unwelcomed by American and British governments, he started a Sea Project to prepare for taking his operations off shore. The next year, he assembled a small number of ships, named himself "Commodore" of his armada, and set sail for the Mediterranean. In Greece he found such a warm welcome, he redubbed his ships the Athena, Diana, and his flagship, the Apollo. His family was with him, and in 1971, he officiated at the marriage of his daughter Diana to Jonathan Horwich aboard the Apollo. By then, the hardcore Scientologists who were sailing with him had been named the Sea Org, and Hubbard regaled them with paranoid tales of all the international groups who had engaged them in a war. As a result, the Sea Org began developing harsh forms of discipline, Orwellian methods of security and personal control, and Hubbard also urged his troops, when they encountered criticism, never to defend but always to attack. (In the film, Dodd sails from San Francisco to New York, and along the way puts on the wedding of his daughter Elizabeth. Dodd, meanwhile, relies on his wife Mary Sue for her steely nerve, just as Hubbard relied on his own third wife, also named Mary Sue. Sample line for Dodd in the script, which appears to be delivered by Mary Sue in the trailer: "The only way to defend ourselves is attack. Attack. Attack. Attack. We attack that man. If we don't do that, we will lose every battle we're engaged in.")

Anderson's script skillfully weaves its tale while fully immersed in all three of these major themes, placing most of the action in New York and Phoenix, and all of it in 1952. (And let me be clear: except for one early scene which seemed like a page out of John Steinbeck's biography -- random, I know -- and some scenes that help develop the film's main character, Joaquin Phoenix's "Freddie," every single moment of this script is about nothing but Scientology's history reworked in one fashion or another.)

In order to accomplish this, Anderson has to cram together some real people into composite characters, and things that actually happened decades apart all happen within a few months.

But I have to say, it all works beautifully. Not that it matters, but I've never read a script that carried me along so quickly. And from what we can see in the trailers, this thing is some serious Oscar bait. But I digress...

What surprised me was that Anderson also manages to get in some contemporary touches, so that it's not only ancient Hubbard history informing the Scientology of the movie.

For example, Hoffman's character is named Lancaster Dodd, but he's called "The Master" by his followers because it's short for "Master of Ceremonies." When I realized that they were also calling him "MOC," I knew it had to be a reference to Scientology's current leader, David Miscavige, who is called "COB" for his title, Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center.

Now, for you hardcore Scientology watchers, here are some things you should be looking for when you see the film (and again, I'm trying to stay away from what happens between Freddie and The Master and other major parts of the story -- nothing should really be spoiled as far as the unfolding of the story by pointing out these elements of Scientology history).

-- Nibs plays an important role. Hubbard's oldest son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr. -- known as "Nibs" in the family -- was in and out of Scientology and alternatively tried to expose his father's untruths and also went crawling back to ask forgiveness. In the script, Dodd's oldest son Val seems mostly based on Nibs, with also, possibly, some elements of Hubbard's other son, Quentin, thrown in (the effeminate name, for example).

-- Questions and responses. Scientology is a massive collection of ideas and processes that Hubbard developed over decades. The sheer number of activities and gradations would seem to be impossible to film, but Anderson brilliantly crams together many of its key traits in just a few scenes. Auditing, "bull baiting," the infamous Scientology personality test, and "security checking" all get compressed and combined in a way that works convincingly. Scientologists may howl at the way their "technology" is portrayed, but as film drama, Dodd's interrogation technique is spot on.

-- Mission Into Time. Hubbard apparently sincerely believed that he'd lived past lives (as a Carthaginian general during the Punic Wars in the third century, B.C., for example) and figured he had to have buried treasure in various places around the Mediterranean for his later self to dig up. So in 1967, Hubbard set sail on the Avon River -- the yacht that would later be named the Athena -- to search in places like Sicily for his old treasure caches. No gold turned up, but Hubbard still turned the voyage into his 1973 book, Mission Into Time. Believe it or not, Anderson manages to pay homage to Hubbard's past-life gold hunt in The Master while never leaving New York!

-- Mary Sue takes, um, control. We can only hope that the sex scene between Dodd and his wife in the script makes it into the movie. For this scene alone, Anderson may never again get invited to parties at the homes of Scientology celebrities.

-- The Wall of Fire. Although the action of the film takes place in 1952, Anderson riffs on elements of Scientology that came much later. We won't say more about it, but one scene should make Hubbard historians think of his heroic researches of OT 3.

-- Dodd smokes Kools. There are so many little Easter Eggs for Scientology watchers in this film. I came up with dozens of them after reading the script, but I don't want to spoil them for you. I will say this much: Anderson knows his Hubbard history.

OK, so we get to the big question: if this film is about nothing other than dramatizing the successes and struggles of L. Ron Hubbard from about 1952 to 1971, how does he fare?

Again, I don't want to ruin the film for you by revealing what happens with Dodd, Freddie, and Mary Sue as this movie unfolds. Let me just say this: if it's true, as various reports have it, that Tom Cruise has seen the picture and isn't happy about it, I'd say that would have to be a major understatement.


See also:
Scientology's president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?

Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.



**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.



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242 comments
Flying.Teapot
Flying.Teapot

Anyone knows which parts of this movie were reshot to suit Tom Cruise's demands? 

FLUNK
FLUNK

ahh ... the oiliness table ...

Ronnn
Ronnn

I don't know if it's fair to call the Royal Scotsman nee Apollo a cattle trawler. It did run passengers and mixed cargo across the Irish Sea, including livestock.

 

However, I'll defer to the description from anyone who had to clean out the poop.

StillKeyedOut
StillKeyedOut

I'm really liking Joaquin Phoenix's "Freddie." Lifting the jail bunk up and down, with his head?Looks to me like Phoenix is mocking Tom Cruise and having fun doing it.

Lancaster Dodd seems too dignified. Hubbard had more of a sarcastic sneer. Maybe that's one of the "issues" Tom had with the film.

jensting
jensting

Oooh, you tease you! Do carry on :D

 

Is it too much to hope for a press conference where a wild-eyed Paul T Anderson says "This film is not About $cientology - it IS $cientology!"

 

Oh, and the question of how much the film is a reflection of the criminal organisation known as the "church" of $cientology - as well as the trailer for the film - is already making the news-circuit. This makes me happy.

skippress
skippress

Just a wild guess about something I don't think anyone's brought up, but I'm thinking PTA came up with the name of his movie from Elwrong's idol - The Master Therion, Aleister Crowley. Yes? http://www.beyondweird.com/crowley.html

all.clear
all.clear

I literary cannot wait for this movie. I just hope to see DM have a full blown public meltdown in my lifetime. Wouldn't it be great if he slapped Tom Cruise up side the head one day? Lol.

deElizabethan
deElizabethan

I like what he said in the Daily Beast  "this movie is the biggest fictional middle finger ever flown their way."

agent.it.01
agent.it.01

I believe Tom Cruise's comment on the film was that it was "too glib".

 

Alanzo
Alanzo

He wrote "day-ta" in the script.

 

This has to be about Scientology.

the1d
the1d

I think the time is ripe for hollywood to really make a movie on r.l.hubbard and the people that followed his nonsense down through the years.With all that has come out thanks to Katie this is the time and this pristine time won't last long so do it now and make a lot of money.Just a thought if any hollywood producers are watching.

Zinnia
Zinnia

John P wrote,  "Of course, the idea that still-in cultists loyal to Miscavige are at one extreme and wholly "secular" jokers like Tony and the rest of our little community are at another is a pretty weak red herring argument."

I started reading VV daily with the TomKat split and am completely hooked.  Of course, I had read up some on Scientology before (St Petersburg reporting).   How can  the topic of Cults not be interesting to know a bit about to be informed?  I have gone on to check out Why we Protest and love the recent comment from a mother making her children learn about "signs of a cult" before sending them off to college.  I know I will be educating my children long before that.  My point John, is that your "little community" has many new members that have not commented yet, but are reading and educating themselves.  I have been telling family, soccer moms, bible study moms, and college friends that I keep up with only via e-mail, that following VV is the best "read" I have come across in quite a while.  So tragic that it is not fiction.  Thank you to Tony Ortega and all the commenters here for the invaluable contributions.  

isabellay
isabellay

Great article!  Next up: a film that centers around a thinly veiled drug rehab facility.  Of course, it would fall into the horror genre and toned down a bit in order to not get an N-17 rating.  Perhaps this would be done by eliminating a scene of how a touch assist becomes rape (Narconon Vista Bay).

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

This movie puts the church in an interesting position. If it were to make a move against the film's release it would not only openly acknowledge the film's portrayal of Hubbard and Scientology, it would give more publicity to the film and at the same time indirectly point to the accuracy of the film itself.

 

I just wonder what the movie will be to the people at large and whether or not it was intended to or will serve as a vaccination against indoctrination. I am guessing that there is already talk about all this in the celebrity world. It should deliver a devastating blow to Scientology's largest source of credibility.

 

Apparently Mr. Anderson (coincidentally the name of Neo in the Matrix) has done his research. I'd be interested to know who was helping him behind the scenes. No way he put all this together without help.

 

I can't wait until the trailers get onto the television and someone leaks a directive written by Miscavige ordering all Scientologists to immediately surrender their TVs in exchange for a credit on their account. One 50in. LCD should pay for about five minutes of auditing right?

BurytheNuts
BurytheNuts

Just like my iPad finally is with the comments

Mary_McConnell
Mary_McConnell

Hope the script leak and these reviews of it don't become fodder for the church to harass Anderson into editing some things out.

TheProprietor
TheProprietor moderator

 @FLUNK By the way, Flunk, in the script, "Flunk!' has been replaced with "INFRINGEMENT!" Thought you'd like to know.

ChocolateVelvet
ChocolateVelvet

@skippress A reasonable connection to make. If you read what LRH jr had to say about his father, it's clear he saw himself as heir to Crowley's "throne". Jack Parsons fed that megalomania by calling Hubbard a natural Magus and conferring the rank of "Magister Templi" -- "master of the temple", or someone qualified to create their own spiritual schema and induct students on that path -- to Hubbard. I'm sure Hubbard's response to that was "Ah! I knew it all along!" It was just fuel for the fire of his egomania. Parsons was just acting on his charge as a member of the OTO, to take on a promising student. But Parsons was foolishly enamored of misfits, and did not recognize Hubbard's pathological narcissism. This is why Crowley's successors in the OTO, such as Israel Regardie, felt that some sort of analysis or psychotherapy was an important prerequisite to "magickal" practice. I see the wisdom in that, although it is a case of too little, too late, IMO. Some feel quite confident in dismissing such practices as Crowley's "Magick" as fantasy and superstition. My own experience has taught me to avoid such arrogant certainty about what "really works". Did Hubbard actually hijack a powerful system of practice from the OTO, as some have suggested? Who knows? But it would explain a lot. "Nibs" claimed his father used "black magic" to control his follwers. My own experiences preclude me from dismissing that possibility -- especially since I know that about 90% of "black magic" is really hypnosis. So from a certain perspective, Hubbard really was the "Master". He made a universe where he was exactly what he wanted to be, and no one could say otherwise. Plus, look at how well things turned out for Hubbard. Crowley died sick, needy, and distressed about what his followers had done with his "legacy"; while Hubbard, on the other hand, died sick, wealthy, and too doped up to care what became of his legacy. What a win! Oh, wait...

TheProprietor
TheProprietor moderator

 @alanzojumper Unfortunately, it appears that Anderson didn't find room for a nice "ROO-lah" in there. But I'll take "day-ta"!

C_Shell
C_Shell

 @Zinnia Like you and so many others, I caught the link to Tony's articles here at VV in all the hoopla around the TomKat divorce and have been avidly, if not compulsively, reading everything Tony's ever written as well as following as many links as possible since then. Thank God Tony usually posts SOMEthing at 7 a.m. most mornings so I can get a new fix as I start my day.

 

The first real exposure I got to Scientology was reading the New Yorker piece about Paul Haggis. I was thoroughly appalled that a cult such as this existed in plain sight and that millions of us go blithely along with no knowledge of the horrors committed daily by DM and his hench-people.

 

This is not the first of Tony's articles that I've read and thought, "If LRH had the talent to write fiction equal to the reality of Scientology's practices, he would have owned the top of the NYTimes bestseller list."

 

"The Master" could not have better timing!

Anonanonsong
Anonanonsong

 @dbloch7986 I'm not convinced the movie's media attention will get that many people who have no interest in scientology in the theaters, however, I wouldn't be surprised if the general and entertainment media (on the trail of the TomKat divorce) exposed Hubbard's tall tales as par for the course to demonstrate why this movie IS about LRon Hubbard.

 

The Indies aren't going to like this either.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @Mary_McConnell I think Anderson is leaking this stuff "strategically," like different political factions leak stuff to the press all the time in Washington.  If the cult does anything before the release, that will undoubtedly be incorporated into the press lore before release, boosting interest still higher.  Even though they have a gift for doing the exact opposite of what they should do on the PR front, this would be way too dangerous, especially in light of all the negative press that has been coming out the last couple weeks. 

FLUNK
FLUNK

 @TheProprietor

 Thank you, Maestro!

"FLUNK!" is part of the Scientology experience, and I'm glad they found a way to represent that in the script ... thanks again! 

skippress
skippress

 @Chocolate Velvet  @skippress If you scan through the text you will see:

 

Apollo

 

Artemis (Diana)

 

The Signs of the Grades

 

I have written this book to help the Banker, the Pugilist, the Biologist, the Poet, the Navvy, the Grocer, the Factory Girl, the Mathematician, the Stenographer. (something for everyone)

 

postulate

 

the Science of understanding oneself and one's conditions

 

Formulae

 

There is no more important task than the exploration of one's previous incarnations

 

a method of obtaining the Magical Memory by learning to remember backwards

 

To invoke a god, i.e. to raise yourself to that godhead, the process is threefold, PURIFICATION, CONSECRATION and INITIATION.

 

The Oath is the foundation of all Work in Magick, as it is an affirmation of the Will. An Oath binds the Magician for ever.  (Sea  Org, anyone?)

 

And a long list of ancient and modern influential texts.

 

Copycat Hubbard died scratching at the blue sky.

 

KareNotMyFault
KareNotMyFault

 @skippress

here, straight from the greatest friend of humankind, to his adoring flock -

 

"Will you take advantage of the carefully marked trail upward? I hope you do my friends. For if you don't, it will be very lonely in the sky."   -.LRH

 

Sounds like a somewhat amused man who expects some collateral damage,  some freak-outs, breakdowns, mental disconnections, anguish.  He's not overly concerned, just giving the gang a cryptic heads-up that he's leading their minds/psyches down a tightrope.

 

 

skippress
skippress

 @KareNotMyFault In my observations, any criminal's worst moment is when they realize they've been found out and that history will out them as complete frauds. I agree with your "wonderful moment." From what I hear, Bernie Madoff has those regularly and people he screwed get to watch them take place on camera. I envision the same for the Evil Dwarf.

KareNotMyFault
KareNotMyFault

 @skippress "Copycat Hubbard died scratching at the blue sky."

 

Hell yes he did.  His top goals were command and control and self-glorification, but he hoped he'd at least stumble on to something meaningful or make at least one damn discovery on his own.  His blue sky was that he believed he could eventually give some kind of point to all the jack-off tech.  but it truly is a bridge to nowhere.  There's nothing to it.  just more of it,  It just trails off...

 

I think there was a wonderful moment when Hubbard realized that he was destined for worm-dirt just like all the people he'd screwed over.   At which time he probably called for a fix.

 

ClamOnAHalfshell
ClamOnAHalfshell

 @BosonStark You mean, the gaLAXy? Ha ha ha!!! Yes, Tom Cruise needs to find him another brainwashed $cibot and stop marrying Roman Catholics.

jensting
jensting

 @Mary_McConnell I have not had the pleasure of seeing "The Profit." I did, however, note the drama from a first-row seat (if, happily, still from the outside) and that was absolutely first rate...

skippress
skippress

 @BosonStark You know, how dumbass can you be to offer something called Super Power and think people will actually flock to buy it? Jim Carrey couldn't even convincingly play someone that stupid.

BosonStark
BosonStark

@JohnPCapitalist

On the day the movie opens, they could try to divert people's attention by advertising a special for a month:

Free personality test and 5 hours of free brainwashing. The winner of the personality test (most Dianetical), if a girl, gets a date with Tom Cruise and the possibility of the $50M prize of being Mrs. Tom Cruise IV. If the winner is a boy, he gets a free underwear dance party with Tom Cruise and a set of LRH toenail clippings from Tom's private collection.

media_lush
media_lush

 @JohnPCapitalist "they have perfected the ability to aim their gun that always shoots backwards"

 

lol, great analogy 

Sherbet
Sherbet

Too obscure a reference?

Sherbet
Sherbet

Maybe they can repave the road in front of every theater that's showing the movie.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @Mary_McConnell Indeed, as the Anons say, "Scientology: it's always worse than it looks." 

 

It would be hard for this film to generate as much nasty publicity as the cult has endured in the last month.  According to Google News, which doesn't get everything, there are 45,400 news stories in the last 30 days published in English that mention Scientology.  It is reasonable to imagine that this many stories appeared in enough different publications that the overwhelming majority of the English-speaking world was exposed to it; I don't think one could conclude that even 5% of those stories took a positive slant on the cult. I would have to believe that Scientology's approval ratings measured today would be below Congress, Jerry Sandusky, Satan-worshiping necrophiliac undertakers, and other sorts of riff-raff. 

 

That said, I agree that they may try some sort of dirty tricks to impede success of the movie, rather than a brute-force legal attack.  Might be protesting, might be some sort of harassment of PTA after the release of the movie (i.e., you can't stop the release, but you can try to make him sorry he did it), or something else. I would look for something cheap and sleazy rather than expensive and loud.  Regret after the fact rather than something that would play into the pre-release PR for the flick. 

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @BosonStark "Gay Divorcee" - LOL'd on that!  I'm assuming of course that you are NOT referring to Mr. Fred Astaire's film!

BosonStark
BosonStark

But Mary, this is about Lancaster Dodd and the The Cause, not about L. Ron Hogwash and Dianutty;-) Although this movie is huge, the cult has to focus on selling the Super Power Rundown to the already tapped out, making sure Tom Cruise has the right to brainwash Suri, and attempts to find and pay off a Shelly Miscavige lookalike, before it's too late.

What about attempts to find Tom Cruise's next wife? The cult can't have him hanging out like some gay divorcee. He's got his image to "repair."

These things are important to the future of this sector of the galaxy.

Also, we can see by the retreat of an official spokesmutant, the climate for this cult has changed drastically.

Mary_McConnell
Mary_McConnell

 @JohnPCapitalist John, thats all well and said, and you do a good talk as usual, but in the scientology enemies field 

one soon learns, sometimes the hard way, that there is nothing this cult won't  try to stop it's more most powerful real or perceived enemies.  This movie is the biggest threat to scientology yet. Millions will learn about the cult. So don't bet it's going to be taken lightly. 

 

FYI,  It was only a couple of years ago that the Profit resurfaced and was again shut down.  They went to great trouble to stop this movie. Beside all the funds spent on legal and PIs, they sabotaged lives and friendships in getting the film banned in the USA.

Mary_McConnell
Mary_McConnell

Having suffered through seeing it, I certainly hope not.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @Mary_McConnell I was not previously aware of "The Profit."  The times have changed.  The threat of $100,000 in legal fees on a $2.5 million budget for "The Profit" would have made all the difference in the world for a very small film.  And since the filmmakers for "The Profit" were hardly Hollywood insiders, the Hollywood community would not be likely to come to their defense.  Today, you have a cult dramatically weaker in their ability to succeed in lawsuits, coming up against a film with a $30 million production budget and perhaps a $10 million promo budget.  $1 million in legal fees could easily be carved out of the promo budget and turned into press fodder as the filings in the case are publicized.  You could spin a campaign around "What is America's most dangerous cult so afraid of."  They would easily get more than a million dollars worth of publicity for those legal fees. You could also have tag lines like "Truth is stranger than fiction" and more. 

 

Any attempt to suppress the film that already has Oscar buzz and that is done by powerful Hollywood insiders could split the Hollywood community with the anti-Scientology camp (98%) against the pro-Scientology camp (2%), and some of those Scientology celebs that speak out against the film would likely see career opportunities dry up. That would, in turn, be a net negative for the cult's recruiting efforts for celebrities.  Who would hire, say, Jenna Elfman, if she is leading the charge to ban a movie by PTA, one of Hollywood's alleged darlings, and starring PSH, already an Oscar winner?  Implicit black-balling of Hollywood Scientologists would probably become fairly overt. 

 

So while the cult was feared a decade ago, when "The Profit" was up for release, they have perfected the ability to aim their gun that always shoots backwards.  They're impaled on the horns of a major dilemma.  It's fun to watch them squirm. 

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